Weekly Radio Message - State Superintendent Janet Barresi

Below is the transcript from State Supt. Barresi's weekly radio message from Sept. 16, 2011. The audio file is attached below.


Hello and welcome to my regular video message.

I’m Janet Barresi, Oklahoma’s state superintendent of public instruction.

This week, I want to talk first about Constitution Day, observed in our public schools on Friday, September 16.

It’s a day when students are taught the tenets of the founding document of our nation’s government. I know they gain a new appreciation for the freedoms they enjoy as a result of this day.
It has been one of my mottoes that i don’t just want to make students college- or career-ready, i want them to be citizen-ready when they leave our schools.

When the 39 delegates to the constitutional convention signed the constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, it came after months of fractious and I’m sure sometimes loud debate. In a democracy that sort of give and take is needed. Such idea-sharing also is needed as we talk about how to improve our schools.

Over the past several weeks, I've launched a listening tour across the state to sit down with teachers. I've already been from one end of the state to the other, having visited Adair County, Lawton and Osage county, with more visits planned. Though I'm always engaged in listening to educators and parents, this is another chance for me to ensure I'm hearing the full spectrum of views -- from anxieties to aspirations.

On a different note, I want to talk about sat scores that were released this week by the College Board. The national picture is that only 43 percent of the nation’s high school seniors met the sat college- and career-readiness benchmark score of 1550. In Oklahoma, only about 6 percent of our students took the SAT. Those numbers are too small for College Board to give an accurate picture of the percentage of our students that met the benchmark.

What we do know is our students performed better than last year in critical reading and should be commended. They scored lower, however, in math and showed no improvement in writing. While our scores are above the nation’s mean scores in these three areas, that is small consolation when considering how the nation’s seniors performed.

We will find a way to improve. We are pushing for four years of math to be taught as a part of the core curriculum instead of the three years required now. Our common core state standards which will be phased in over the next three years will help improve our writing scores. Oklahoma this year also invested in reading sufficiency that will help ensure our kindergarten through third-graders can read on grade level and that will help ensure they are on track for high school and college or career. We have dedicated teachers who are embracing these changes and giving us input on how we can improve even more.

Finally, i will be traveling to New York later this month to attend NBC’s education nation summit. The summit will bring together governors, state superintendents of education like myself, administrators, teachers and other leaders for an honest, productive conversation about how to make America's children ready for the future. I'll be there representing the interests of Oklahoma's citizens, parents and teachers. And I invite our teachers to join in the national conversation themselves and to make themselves heard.

On Sunday, September 25, NBC news anchor Brian Williams will host a teacher town hall, the largest ever gathering of teachers from around the country. The event will be televised live on MSNBC. Teachers, just go to educationnation.com and register to be a part of the live web chat during the teacher town hall.

We've done amazing things in Oklahoma schools -- let's let the rest of the country know about them.

Thanks for watching and I’ll see you soon for another video message.

Last updated on December 14, 2011